Councillor fights to stop Rally

TWEED Greens councillor Katie Milne may put her name to a bid to block the Repco Rally in the Federal Court, even though she risks bankruptcy and her seat on council if the case is lost.

North Coast environmentalists have raised a fighting fund of $16,000 to lodge an application with the Federal Court for an injunction to stop the rally, planned to run in the Tweed and Kyogle shires from September 3 to 6.

The rally is backed by the Paris-based Federation Internationale de l'Automobile.

The injunction application was originally due to be lodged today, but two Sydney barristers are still considering the strength of the case.

Cr Milne said she was not the only person willing to become the application's plaintiff, with four other individuals and local environmental groups putting their hands up.

“It's going to be up to the lawyers to work out the best contender,” she said.

“I don't see it as putting my head on the chopping block. I think it's more like putting your hand up for hero status. The plaintiff will be very welcome on the Tweed.”

Cr Milne said if she was bankrupted by the case she would automatically be dismissed as a Tweed councillor, but she was confident the court would rule in favour of the environmentalists.

“We're hoping ... to make a profit,” she said.

Sue Higginson, a senior lawyer working on the case, said it would be argued the rally organisers breached the Federal Environmental Protection and Biological Conservation Act, by failing to notify the Federal Government of the rally.

Ms Higginson said regardless of the State Government's decision to pass a special Act of Parliament for the rally, organisers also needed permission from the Commonwealth.

“The Federal Act is a separate process above and beyond any state process,” Ms Higginson said.

“And what triggers it is matters of national environmental significance.”



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